Imipenem, an intravenous antibiotic is recommended for use in drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) when an effective regimen with combination of other second line drugs is not possible. Though the treatment success rates with carbapenems are promising, the twice daily injection of Imipenem usually requires patients to be hospitalized. The Médecins Sans Frontières independent clinic in Mumbai, India implemented ambulatory and home based management of patients receiving Imipenem through the use of port-a-cath.
We aimed to describe the adverse events and treatment outcomes of ambulatory pre- and XDR-TB patients initiated on imipenem through port-a-cath between January 2015 and June 2018 and to explore the challenges with this regimen as perceived by healthcare providers and patients.
A convergent mixed methods study with quantitative (longitudinal descriptive study using the routine data) and qualitative (descriptive study) part conducted concurrently. For the quantitative component, all XDR-TB and pre-XDR-TB initiated on imipenem containing regimen during January 2015-June 2018 were included. For qualitative component, interviews were carried out including patients who initiated on imipenem (n = 5) and healthcare providers (n = 7) involved in providing treatment. Treatment outcomes, culture conversion and adverse events during treatment were described. Thematic analysis was carried out for qualitative component.
Of the 70 patients included, the mean age was 28.1 (standard deviation: 11.2) years and 36 (51.4%) were females. Fifty one (72.9%) had XDR-TB. All patients were resistant to fluoroquinilone, levofloxacin. Vomiting was reported by 55 (78.6%) patients and at least one episode of QTC prolongation (more than 500 msec by Fredrecia method) was detected in 25 (35.7%). Port-a-cath block and infection was seen in 11 (15.7%) and 20 (28.6%) patients respectively. Favourable outcomes were seen in 43 (61.4%) patients. Mortality was seen in 22 (31.4%) patients, 2 (2.9%) were lost-to-follow-up and 3 (4.3%) were declared as treatment failure. The overarching theme of the qualitative analysis was: Challenges in delivering Imipenem via port-a-cath device in ambulatory care. Major challenges identified were difficulties in adhering to drug dose timelines, vomiting, restricted mobility due to port-a-cath, paucity of infection control and space constraints at patients’ home for optimal care.
Administration of imipenem was feasible through port-a-cath. Though outcomes with ambulatory based imipenem containing regimens were promising, there were several challenges in providing care. The feasibility of infusion at day care facilities needs to explored to overcome challenges in infusion at patients home.